Dr. Tahl N. Humes owns and serves as medical director to Vitahl Medical Aesthetics in Denver, Colorado. She graduated with a BS from Indiana University, completed Medical School at Touro University in California, and Residency at Saint Joseph Hospital in Denver. She is a National Laser Trainer and National Spokesperson for Cutera® Lasers. Dr. Humes also trains physicians, RNs, and PAs from across the nation in advanced injection techniques of BOTOX® and advanced dermal fillers, including Juvederm, Restylane, Radiesse, and Sculptra. Dr. Humes has performed thousands of aesthetic treatments with lasers and injectables. She was invited by Allergan to participate in the Juvederm Experience Trials prior to the product’s release to the general public. In addition, Dr. Humes is known for her expertise in laser medicine. Dr. Humes and Vitahl are known for their cutting edge laser treatments, such as Pearl and Titan. She has been interviewed for her cosmetic medical expertise by news affiliates ABC, CBS, and NBC, and has served on expert panels for Cutera® Lasers at national presentations.

Industry Buzz

With the expansion of aesthetic technology and associated aesthetic procedures, there has been a parallel growth in office-based procedures being completed by non-surgically trained physicians. In many cases, this may be acceptable per their board certification, but in some cases, the envelope is being over zealously pushed, which has had an extremely negative effect on patient safety and surgery outcomes. Whether the motivation of the involved physician is financial, personal or professional, ethical consideration must be applied to physicians who are conducting procedures when they have had no formal residency or fellowship training. Clearly organizations exist that will train physicians to perform a specific procedure. These are almost always weekend courses that are not recognized by the physician’s professional board or their malpractice insurance carrier. More concerning is the fact that there is no selection process that allows only the most well trained and competent physicians to perform these procedures. This is in glaring contrast to the training of plastic surgeons, who are board certified with respect to cosmetic procedures.

Consider Dr. Jason Martin, a board certified plastic surgeon who has now joined the VITAHL family. His training consisted of 7 years of post medical school surgical training at some of the most prestigious medical facilities in the United States. Specifically, he completed a general surgery residency and plastic surgery fellowship training at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois. He then was selected for post fellowship training in cosmetic surgery at Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital in New York City. He furthermore is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. This is an arduous process that involves multiple tests and evaluations over a 3 year period after training, and also has a greater than 50% failure rate for first time applicants. When considering the disparity in training, it is hard to imagine why a patient would willingly choose a non-surgically trained physician for a cosmetic procedure. Even the desire to save a few dollars does not outweigh the risk. Come in to meet Dr. Martin and see how his expertise can help you meet your surgical goals.


Previously, I shared a story about a 35 year-old Florida woman who had a negative outcome from surgery after she chose a good deal on liposuction without checking on the expertise of the provider. Had she done more research, she would have found that the surgeon had been disciplined by the state on multiple occasions. The other day I read about another woman who chose price over expertise, and again had a negative outcome. This fatal breast implant surgery was performed by a certified family physician. While this doctor was board certified, he was not a plastic surgeon, but he was performing cosmetic surgery. This story not only saddened me, but also reinforced the need for good medicine when it comes to cosmetic treatments.

As the aesthetic industry has grown, the view of cosmetic treatments as medical treatments seems to have become lax. There are physicians who are not trained in surgery performing surgery. There is BOTOX being injected in hair salons while customers are sitting in chairs waiting for their hair dye to process. There are lasers being purchased and run without the oversight of a physician. These are medical treatments with real benefits; but there are always potential complications, and the procedures needed to be taken seriously. The State Medical Board does not limit the practice of cosmetic surgery to plastic surgeons. In reality, any doctor with a medical license can perform surgery. It is then the responsibility of the physicians to work within the scope of their training. At VITAHL, we take training and board certification seriously. I am board certified in Internal Medicine. I am trained to treat medical conditions that affect any organ of the body, including the skin, our largest organ. I am not trained in surgery, but if I wanted to, I could purchase a liposuction machine, take a weekend course, and perform surgery. I feel this would be irresponsible on my part, so when we decided to add liposuction and surgery to the treatments available at VITAHL, I partnered with a board certified plastic surgeon. I feel that it is my responsibility to offer the best medical care to my patients, and personally, I feel this is achieved when cosmetic surgery is performed by a plastic surgeon.

So what can you do as a patient to make sure your physician is practicing responsible medicine? I recommend doing your research. The lowest price is probably low for a reason. Find out why someone is willing to perform surgery at prices well below the industry norm. Know who is performing your surgery, know how they have been trained, and ask about their clinical outcomes. In our industry update below, you can find out more about this topic as well as more about Dr. Jason Martin, our board-certified plastic surgeon.

Dr. Humes